NEW YORK -- On the eve of Thanksgiving, children with autism will have a chance to see their art featured in an animated cartoon made with the help of Rethink Autism, Inc. (http://www.rethinkautism.com). "The First Thanksgiving," is a fictional story that is told using "hand turkey" art projects submitted by parents and caregivers of these children through social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
Since every child with autism has his/her own unique challenges to overcome, these challenges have led to an amazing variety of submissions. For example, Michael does not tolerate having his hand traced, so his mother took a picture of his hand, then drew and colored the turkey digitally.
Another mother approached her two sons' turkeys in different ways. For Ryan, who is learning to recognize his name as part of his Individualized Education Program, she wrote his name on the turkey and let him color it in. For Stevie who likes letters and numbers, she cut out shapes and he enjoyed gluing them down.
"It's been really exciting to create a social network space where parents and children can make something together and then share it with this welcoming online community," said Kent Kincannon, Director of Social Media for Rethink Autism. "And the cartoon provides a medium for families to interact with each other through their contributions, and see their work come alive with animation."
There was also a great deal of participation from schools, such as the special education provider in Florida that submitted a whole family of feathered turkeys. One adult education group sent a remarkable 25 turkeys at once, and another group sent a collection of "pavos de manos" decorated with Mexican flags.
"The First Thanksgiving" cartoon can be seen November 24th on the Rethink Autism home page as well as on Facebook, iTunes, and YouTube. Rethink Autism looks to expand its free content to include more projects, like this one, that are directed toward children as well as their caregivers.
Rethink Autism currently offers a variety of free educational content to its community members including live webinars with autism experts such as Dr. Bridget A. Taylor, Psy.D., BCBA-D, Executive Director of the Alpine Learning Group, and weekly video tips on topics such as Expanding Verbal Language, Reducing Problem Behavior, and Toilet Training. Archives of past tips and webinars can be found on the Rethink Autism website.
Families, professionals and schools who subscribe to Rethink Autism's online treatment platform have access to an entire ABA-based video curriculum and training center, lesson plans for every skill in the library, and progress tracking so that every teacher in a child's life can follow his or her development.